Stephanie Beaver

Stephanie Beaver

After completing her master’s degree in higher education at the University of Arkansas in 2017, Stephanie Beaver packed her bags and moved to Ireland. She answered some questions about living in a new country and gave tips for those considering a move abroad.

1. Why did you choose to move abroad after graduation?

I chose to move abroad for several reasons. First, because besides a few summers in various states, I had never lived outside of Arkansas. Second, I was very determined to do something out of my comfort zone. Finally, the working holiday visa for Ireland is only available to people still enrolled in school or within 12 months after graduation, so I wanted to seize the opportunity.

2. What was the acclimation process like? Did you feel at home right away, or did it take time before you felt completely comfortable?

The Irish are extremely friendly and hospitable, so they made it really easy to adjust. The only things I really struggled with were understanding the accents (I thought half of them were speaking Gaelic).

3. What were some of the most challenging aspects of living abroad?

Being away from my family, friends, and dog were all pretty difficult, because although there was FaceTime, I was 6 hours ahead of everyone. Then there are always little things that you miss in life, mine happened to be mainly food related. Also, driving on the other side of the road takes a little getting used to!

4. What were some of your favorite experiences of living abroad/being immersed in a different culture?

I absolutely loved getting to experience life with people who do it just a little differently. Although Ireland would be similar enough to the US, there’s just something a little different that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. I also got to travel to several different countries (Netherlands, Norway, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Hungary, and Slovakia) throughout the year which was amazing. The histories and cultures of countries are so interesting and amazing to me! Some of my favorite things about Ireland were 1) Irish weddings, 2) Irish pubs, 3) beautiful scenery, 4) castles and cathedrals everywhere, and 5) the people!

5. What are your top five pieces of advice for people considering moving abroad?

1) If you’re considering moving abroad, do as much research as possible, but don’t overthink it. I didn’t know anyone who had lived in Ireland, so I did a lot of googling. It’s so important to be prepared, but also be flexible.

2) There will probably be people who question your decision to move, but don’t let them put doubt in your mind. Now’s the time do it…don’t put it off because of fear or doubt!

3) You may be worried that you’re moving to a new place and you don’t know anyone, but that’s just an opportunity to meet new people. And trust me, the locals are usually the best people to know!

4) Be strategic about what part of the country/city you’re wanting to move to, but also be open minded. I ended up living in the countryside about 20 minutes from a major city and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

5) If you have the opportunity to move abroad, take it! It’s an exciting adventure that if you don’t take, you might look back and regret!


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